It might look like they’re just sitting down at a desk, but a select group of WeWork members is actually helping to test out the office of the future.
These individuals—from newly minted startups, growing tech companies, and well-established corporations—are part of the Enterprise Innovation Lab, a partnership between WeWork and Mastercard. They’ll be testing out new technology that will transform the workplace into a digitally connected environment.
Part of WeWork’s vision for the future of work, the new technology will make payment even easier. When members need a place to work, they can walk into a WeWork location and settle in at whatever hot desk they want. If they need a snack to help them power through, they can make a selection at the nearby Honesty Market. And they’ll be able to do all of this without once reaching for their wallet.
“The vision is to create a work environment that can be personalized and where access to facilities, equipment and supplies is seamless,” said Stephane Wyper, Mastercard’s senior vice president for new commerce partnerships and commercialization. And all this will happen, he says, without sacrificing security.
This is the first pilot of Mastercard’s new service to add connectivity to shared spaces. It can create smart environments in any location that has multiple occupants or users—not just co-working spaces, but can also extend to apartment and office buildings, gyms and health clubs, and vacation rentals. It is being developed and deployed in partnership with AVA retail and Cisco.
For WeWork, it means making it easier for members to focus on what’s important to them.
“As WeWork grows its global network that allows people to pursue their life’s work with ease, we believe that technology is a powerful tool that can be leveraged to create more meaningful and efficient experiences,” said Shiva Rajamaran, WeWork’s chief product officer.
All this is possible through IoT technology. It’s about building spaces where people can connect to each other and create meaning together—all the while using space more effectively and efficiently.
Mastercard’s technology has two components. The first is a pay-as-you-go pricing model that lets members pay for the exact amount of time they use a desk or a conference room. This could help members save money by letting them pay only for the amount of time they use the facility.
Here’s how it works: When a member walks into a WeWork space, they will be prompted to open an app and verify their identify with a fingerprint. When they leave the area, their session will end and they will automatically be charged for only the time they used.
The second component is a frictionless retail experience that allows members to pick up any item from the Honesty Market without having to pull out a physical or digital wallet for payments. All they need to do authenticate themselves once and payment will be automatic for the items they have chosen when they leave the area.
Rajamaran said that he’s excited that members of the Enterprise Innovation Lab are part of this experiment.
“WeWork is focused on enhancing business opportunities for our members,” he said, “so we’re thrilled to test these new product offerings with members of the community that are dedicated to the future of commerce.”
The Enterprise Innovation Lab was announced last month. Working from San Francisco’s WeWork 600 California Street, members of the program get access to mentorship opportunities, sponsored memberships, and other perks. New members are brought into the program on a rolling basis.